House Republicans see 'obstruction' in Biden administration's freeze-out of Afghan watchdog
Added 11-24-22 12:22:03pm EST - “An under-the-radar fight between the Biden administration and an independent Afghanistan inspector general will soon be thrust into the spotlight when Republicans take over the House in January, with GOP leaders pledging to push back…” - Washingtontimes.com
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An under-the-radar fight between the Biden administration and an independent Afghanistan inspector general will soon be thrust into the spotlight when Republicans take over the House in January, with GOP leaders pledging to push back on what they say is systematic “obstruction” by the State Department and other arms of the federal government.
As soon as the next Congress is sworn in, House Republicans have vowed to call new oversight hearings into the widely criticized, rushed U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan in August 2021 and its aftermath. Much of the effort will focus on the administration’s handling of the withdrawal and why, as critics contend, no high-ranking officials were fired as a result.
But Republicans are also zeroing in on an unusually bitter and public clash between the administration and the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the government’s top Afghanistan watchdog and a body that since its formation in 2008 has routinely highlighted apparent waste, fraud and mismanagement of American money during reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.
SIGAR’s quarterly reports to Congress have long been a thorn in the side of administrations of both parties, but its supporters say that over the past 16 years it has provided a crucial window into how U.S. money was spent as Washington tried to rebuild Afghanistan, train its military, and prop up its ill-fated government.
Despite past tensions between SIGAR and multiple administrations, the inspector general’s investigators seemingly always had access to the information they sought to make its assessments. But that’s no longer the case, SIGAR claims, as the Biden administration is now refusing to provide detailed accountings of the roughly $1.1 billion in U.S. assistance to Afghanistan since the August 2021 U.S. withdrawal.
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